# Go Out. The great outdoors is basically a free, open-air gym. Whether it’s a walk, a jog or some bodyweight exercises in your local park, exercising in the open air is fun, invigorating and — most importantly — free.
# Get on your bike. Another free or very cheap form of exercise that improves your cardiovascular fitness and builds your leg strength. Cycling is a fun activity and maintaining a bike is inexpensive — which are both great reasons to ‘get on your bike’!
# Swimming. A session in your local pool is certainly one of the cheaper exercise options on offer because there’s no time limit on your workout — plus using a public facility is generally cheaper than using a privately-owned gym. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise and ideal if impact-type activities are unsuitable for you.
# The home workout. If you want to work on your flexibility and tone up, then by acquiring a few basic items of equipment you can train in the comfort of your own home — and at a time to suit you!
# Pay as you go exercise classes. Rather than commit to the monthly outgoings of a gym membership — where you still have to pay a monthly fee even if you don’t attend due to vacations, illness or work commitments — why not try some ‘pay as you go’ exercise classes instead? A good exercise class can give you a great all-over workout and will frequently be available at very little cost per session. You only pay when you turn up, so there’ll be no wasted money — and some leisure centres or gyms offer reductions for books of tickets, which will provide you with a further saving.
Do some stretching. This is really important, even if you’re not bothered about improving your flexibility, as the muscular contractions involved in strength training and aerobic exercise shorten muscle fibers, and they need to be restored to their normal resting length to prevent them tightening up and, over time, shortening permanently. Stretch each of the major muscle groups (remembering to do both sides, where appropriate) — taking each stretch to the point of tautness rather than pain and holding for 15 to 30 seconds. Your stretch routine should take around 10 minutes.
# The workout warm-up
Each good workout begins with a warm-up. This gets the body prepared for movement, by raising body temperature and heart rate and making muscles more adaptable. Begin by taking each of the real joints (the neck, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and lower legs) through its full scope of movement — for instance, roll the shoulders the distance around, twist and expand the knees completely, circle the lower legs. This greases up the joint surfaces with the goal that development is more agreeable, smooth and safe. Try not to swing or yank your appendages, however — continue everything extremely tender and simple. Next, play out some delicate oxygen consuming action for around 5 minutes. This could be energetic strolling, simple cycling, running or venturing. Presently you’re prepared to get going!
# Aerobic exercise
The aerobic section of your workout should last 20 to 50 minutes (beginners should start at the lower end of the time span and work upwards), and needs to be done at a pace that makes you feel warm, breathless and a bit sweaty. On a scale of 1 to 10, you should be working at your own personal 5 to 7 out of 10. You should still be able to hold a conversation. The good thing about using the 1 to 10 scale is that as you get fitter, you’ll actually be working at a higher intensity for the same effort level. In other words, you might still be working at, say, 6 out of 10 but the actual pace or intensity will be greater. Don’t make the mistake of sticking at the same level of intensity even though you’ve become fitter — otherwise you won’t make progress. Remember also to gradually increase the duration as exercise becomes easier. At the end of your aerobic workout, cool down gradually rather than stopping suddenly. If you aren’t doing any strength training, remember to stretch afterwards, too.
# Strength training
The goal here is to work all the major muscle groups of the body: the chest, back, bottom, legs, arms, shoulders and abdominals. Sounds as if it could take all day? Don’t worry, for the first few weeks of strength training you’ll see results from just one exercise per body part — and one set of each exercise. However, don’t waste that set by using weights that are so light that you can do endless repetitions! In order to see changes in your muscles strength and tone you need to use a weight that you can only lift 8 to 12 times, so that the last couple of repetitions (reps) are quite tough. As you get stronger, you can introduce additional or alternative exercises for each body area, or increase the weights, reps and sets. It’s best to ask a personal trainer or gym instructor to show you which exercises to do and how to do them correctly. Even a full body strength workout need only take 20 to 30 minutes.
So you see, you can build stamina, strength and suppleness in under an hour! Make time for three workouts a week and you’ll soon be well on your way to a fitter body, better health and bags of energy.
Getting fit through a system of normal activity has various advantages for your body and brain. Be that as it may, there are additionally numerous minimal known medical advantages as well, including better hearing, center and even sex drive. Here’s our manual for a portion of the advantages of activity that are not all that outstanding.
Slimmer thighs, firmer muscles, more vitality and a more beneficial heart are all compensation offs you’d anticipate from getting fitter – however here are seven advantages of enhanced wellness that you might not have considered…
Deeper sleep after exercise
Being active during the day can help you get more sleep in at night. According to the US National Sleep Foundation, daytime physical activity can help you to fall asleep more quickly and get better quality sleep. Regular exercise can also help sufferers of insomnia to beat their problem. And, contrary to popular belief, recent research from the University of California suggests that even late evening workouts won’t hamper your ability to get to sleep.
Better hearing through exercise
A study at Miami University found that cardiovascular training improves your hearing in the short term and helps to preserve it in the long term. Other studies have found that the least fit people tend to have the worst hearing – and that’s even taking into account the number of exercisers blasting their ears with iPods…
More creativity from working out
Brand new research from Rhode Island College suggests that aerobic exercise can kick-start your creativity – and keep your brain cells tingling for a couple of hours afterwards. Activities that are ‘no-brainers’ and don’t require you to put in too much thought are best – so pick running or swimming over rock climbing or doubles tennis. Also, don’t go too hard, as the best creativity boost comes from exercising at a comfortable pace.
Better quitting power through exercise
If you are trying to kick your smoking habit, research suggests that exercise might help. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicinefollowed 281 sedentary female smokers, who were otherwise healthy, in their efforts to quit. The study found that smokers who take part assigned exercise sessions are twice as likely to quit and stay cigarette free compared to those who don’t do any exercise.
Higher libido from exercise
Yes, being fit helps to improve your sex life! A study that looked at 8,000 women aged 18 to 49 found that in women who exercise three times a week, 40% report greater arousal, 31% have sex more often and 25% find orgasm easier to achieve. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health involving 31,000 men found that men who are physically active have a 30% lower risk of erectile dysfunction than men who do little or no physical activity.
More regularity from exercise
Yes, we’re talking about how regularly you go to the bathroom here! An Australian study found that regular exercisers are less likely to suffer from constipation than sedentary people. The boost to your circulation – as well as the actual physical effects of movement – are thought to be the reason for this. There is even a link between high levels of fitness and low levels of bowel cancer – though this may be because fit people are more likely to eat healthily, too.
Better focus through exercising
The very fact that exercise requires planning, application, dedication and discipline means that every time you get your kit on, you are working on your character development, too. For example, a study of people training for a marathon in New York found that regular exercise improves people’s goal-setting, organization and discipline – both at work and in other areas of life.
As opposed to simply concentrating on the substantial muscles on the front and back of the thighs (the quads and hamstrings) this workout is multi-directional, acquiring the hips and inward thighs and guaranteeing you aren’t continually moving in the ‘forward and back’ plane that we utilize such a great amount in day by day life. That implies you are assaulting resolved thunder thighs from each side!
# Doing thigh exercise right
Here are a few tips to guide you through the workout:
- Breathe freely during these exercises – do not hold your breath.
- When it says ‘pause’ it means hold the position momentarily before returning to the start position.
- Remember your posture! Keep the core gently engaged throughout by contracting the navel to spine and lifting the pelvic floor.
- Each repetition should take roughly four to six seconds, do not use momentum to carry you through.
- When no weight is called for, aim to do as many repetitions as you can with perfect form.
- When a weight is required, opt for one that enables you to perform six to 12 repetitions with good form. If you can do more than 12 repetitions, increase the weight.
For the first week, do just one set of each exercise to get a feel for it, and to prevent you ending up with muscle soreness that puts you off doing the workout again. Following that, if your goal is to build strength and tone up, go for one to two sets of each exercise, and stick to the higher end of the recommended number of repetitions. If you want to build some size and shape, then increase the number of sets to three and aim for the lower number of repetitions, with a heavier weight.
So here are the thigh exercises :
# Knee drive exercise
Works the gluteals, hamstrings, quads and calves and improves balance and coordination.
Stand with one foot on a step, knee bent and the other foot on the floor behind you. Drive up onto the front foot, bringing the back knee up towards your chest, using your arms in an opposite action (as if you were power walking). Come right up on to the ball of your foot, pause, then go straight back down into a lunge position. Add power by allowing the supporting foot to leave the floor altogether as you drive up with the other leg.
# Simple squat exercise
Works all the lower body muscles including front and back of thighs and bottom.
Stand with feet directly below your hipbones, your tummy pulled in, spine in neutral and a dumbbell in each hand. Take your weight back into your heels and lower your body by bending the legs, leading with the bottom, and with knees directly over the middle toes. Don’t over-arch the back. Aim to lower to 90 degrees, pause for a moment, then raise yourself back up and repeat.
# Directional lunge exercise
Works quads, glutes, inner thighs, calves.
Start with feet below your hipbones, standing tall with a dumbbell in each hand. Take a big step forward with your right leg, bending both knees so that the right knee aligns over the right toes, and the left knee travels towards the floor. Keep the torso upright. Pause, then, pushing up through the front heel, straighten the legs and return to the start position. Next, take a big step to the diagonal, again ensuring the knee aligns over the toes. Step back and then repeat the two moves with the left leg. Complete all repetitions. Do not allow pelvis to tip forwards or tailbone to stick out.
# Supine bridge exercise
This works the glutes, hamstrings and lower back. Lie on the floor with your body straight, arms by your sides and your feet resting on the edge of the sofa, or a coffee table (or any surface around 40-70cm from the floor). Lift your torso up so that your body weight is supported on the shoulders, head and feet only. Now keeping that straight line, lift the right foot a few inches off the sofa, without letting the pelvis tip to the side. Lower, and then repeat with the other leg. Aim for 12 repetitions in total.
# Hip abduction
Works outer thighs, glutes and hips.
Lie on your side with legs ‘stacked’ from ankle to hip (directly on top of one another) and your weight supported on your elbow – don’t let the body sink into the supporting arm. Raise the top leg a few inches from the supporting one, keeping the toes facing directly forwards and ensuring that the leg lengthens out of the hip socket as you extend it. Lower, repeat all repetitions and swap sides. When this gets too easy, use an ankle weight to increase resistance.
# Cardio thigh streamlining
- Tread water – when you are swimming, tread water after every four lengths for 30 seconds. Keep legs straight and toes pointed and ‘scissor’ your legs backwards and forwards as quickly as possible.
- Breaststroke is a ‘below the belt’ firmer and burns 150 calories in 15 minutes (based on a 9 ½ stone woman).
- In-line skating is a superb aerobic workout, burning 400 calories an hour, provided you can master the technique required to keep on the move and upright! Studies have shown that it works some muscles in the legs more effectively than running – particularly the inner thighs and hips.
- The diamond-shaped thigh muscle that lies just above the knee isn’t dubbed the ‘soccer muscle’ for nothing. Any kicking action is great for toning and strengthening the front of the thighs, be it soccer or kickboxing.
# Leg crossover
Works inner thighs, hips.
Hook one end of a resistance band around something sturdy and loop the other end around your right leg. Shuffle away from the attachment point until there is enough tension in the band, and your right leg is lifted out to the side. Now bring your right leg in towards the center, taking it just across the left, toes facing directly forward. Do not allow the hip of the supporting leg to ‘dip,’ and keep core engaged. Release the leg back to start position and repeat.
# Holistic approach to fitness
Another thing women seem to be better at than men is taking a holistic approach to fitness. This means that they thereby engage physically, mentally and emotionally with their fitness programs. Taking this approach to fitness has many health benefits.
For example, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that some holistic training techniques could improve fitness. Other benefits of the holistic approach to fitness is that your stress levels can decrease and it is thought that certain types of holistic practises, such as Tai Chi, can improve bone health. To take advantage of these health benefits explore some of the many different fitness techniques that are out there.
# Men, work on your flexibility
One of the main differences between a man’s and a woman’s body is that men are generally less flexible than women. You may not think flexibility is important, but it is. Stretching your muscles regularly will help you to move more efficiently. Stretching is also important for men because it helps you stay injury-free and it can relax your muscles and in turn reduce stress.
Clearly stretching is very important for men and is something you need to work at. Attending Yoga or Pilates classes can help you to improve your flexibility. Remember, as a general rule, men’s hamstrings, shoulders and lower backs tend to need to be worked on more than other areas of their body, so pay special attention to these parts of your body in your flexibility sessions.
# Try new things
Men are terrible for sticking to the same fitness routine and many don’t try new things very often. If this sounds familiar you need to explore new ways to get fit. Doing different types of fitness activities means that you work different parts of your body and by doing this you improve your core strength, your flexibility and your balance.
Working up the courage to try new things is one of the biggest obstacles most men face when it comes to this task. If you don’t fancy going into a Pilates class or joining a boxing club on your own take a friend with you or try a DVD before going to a class.
# Go slower
If you’re like most men you’ll have a healthy competitive spirit and, whilst this is great for your motivation and for encouraging you to push yourself, it can lead to problems. For example, a lot of men fall into the trap of thinking that in order to be better and achieve more they have to perform all of their exercises at a super fast pace.
Although true when performing some exercises, for others this is just not the case. Take weight lifting for example. When lifting slowly, say for 10 seconds in total, you increase the amount of time your muscles are tense for and simultaneously increase the blood flow. This means that you help to develop and increase your muscle mass. The next time you train, remember that faster is not always better and find out what speed you should be working at.
# Take a break
Another fitness tip men should put into action is resting and recovering between sessions. Doing back-to-back sessions may make you feel like you are doing the best thing for your body, but not giving yourself a break between workouts will mean that you will burn out, lose motivation and do more harm than good. Plus taking a rest day will mean that when you train again you can train harder.
You should be taking a day off from exercising every two to three days as a minimum ideally. Make sure that on these rest days you stay hydrated and avoid doing anything too strenuous. If you’re struggling not to do anything on these days you could do some flexibility workouts. Also if you have been lifting weights or exercising certain muscle groups, make sure that you do not train that same muscle group again the following day.
Endorphins, the body’s own sedative like chemicals, have for quite some time been considered in charge of the supposed activity ‘high’, and specialists once felt that we expected to extreme it out at a specific force, for a given period of time, so as to ‘flick the switch’ and get an endorphin support. For instance, a report in the diary Physician and Sports Medicine reasoned that to get an activity ‘high’, you need to work at 76% of your greatest heart rate, and may need to continue going for two hours or more. However, with some activity fan blissing out by doing a great deal less work, and others putting in significantly more noteworthy measures of push without much of any result, analysts started to understand that the recipe wasn’t so basic.
The endorphin wellness “myth”
It’s presently faulty whether endorphins have of an influence at all in why exercise makes us feel great. This is on account of there are two endorphin frameworks in the body – one in the blood circulatory framework, and the other in the cerebrum. Furthermore, despite the fact that it’s been demonstrated that endorphin levels in the blood increment in light of activity, those endorphins can’t cross the ‘blood-mind hindrance’, so wouldn’t as a matter of course have a lot of an impact on inclination.
Going for exercise goals
Simplest of all is the idea that the sense of accomplishment or ‘mastery’ we get from undertaking a challenging workout leaves us aglow. It boosts feelings of self-esteem by demonstrating that we can achieve our goals. But of course, challenge is a personal thing – and it’s important that the level of intensity is pitched just right. If exercise is too easy then we won’t feel we’ve achieved much – whereas if the exercise is too hard we may become stressed and uncomfortable.
In one study, from Kyushu University in Japan, runners who completed ten to 15 minute runs at a self-selected pace – rather than sprinting all-out – successfully enhanced their mood. And backing up the idea that you don’t need to put yourself through a near-death experience to get a ‘high’, Indiana University found that even low-intensity aerobic activity (40% of maximum capacity) could assist anxiety reduction and promote a more positive mood.
Another potential explanation for the workout buzz is the warmth it created in the body, which – like a hot bath – helps muscles to relax and tension to dissipate. But we can’t rule out chemicals entirely. Nor are endorphins the only substances that respond to exercise. For example, exercise can prevent serotonin being taken back up by brain tissue, just like some anti-depressant drugs. It also has an affect on levels of adrenaline and dopamine.
Getting ‘high’ through exercise?
If you’ve yet to experience that magical feeling during or after exercise, make sure that your sessions aren’t too easy or too hard, that you gain a sense of accomplishment from completing them, and that you enjoy the activity.
Bear in mind that getting an exercise ‘high’ may be a question of definition – one person’s ‘pleasantness’ may be another’s ‘total ecstasy’! To prove the point, in a study that asked marathon runners to describe their experience of the runner’s ‘high’, the most frequently picked phrase was ‘general happiness’. There’s no harm in aiming for nirvana!
# New routines. Don’t get stuck in a rut with the same old boring exercise routine that you’ve always done. As well as not getting results, by keeping the same routine over a long period of time your motivation will suffer and you’ll easily find an excuse not to work out. So, why not step outside of your comfort zone and try out a new activity, exercise class or experience? Try learning a new sport, joining a club or taking a different class to introduce you to different training techniques. Something new will revitalize you and reawaken your enthusiasm again — so you’ll feel like you really want to make time to work out.
# Having an exercise goal. There’s nothing like setting yourself a goal to foster commitment to exercise. By having a target to aim for, your sessions will have focus and purpose and you’ll be more likely to factor exercise into your week as you work towards your goal. Your target could be anything — from weight loss to completing an event — as long as it’s your choice and personal to you.
# Make a date. Make an arrangement with a friend to meet them and go walking, jogging or running together. These are all great forms of cardiovascular exercise — and what’s better, they cost nothing! The key benefit of exercising with another person is that because you’ve made that commitment with someone else, there’s less of a chance that you’ll duck out of your exercise session.
# Kick-start your day with exercise. You don’t have to do this every day of the week — but occasionally, try setting your alarm clock a little earlier so that you can arrive early at the gym or swimming pool, or simply venture outside for a walk or jog while it’s still quiet. Exercising is a great start to your day and will keep you invigorated for hours afterwards.
# Superset. If you like working out with weights, then you’ll enjoy supersetting. The supersetting technique is a great time-saver and, if used correctly, can cut your exercise time by as much as 50 per cent while still giving you the same results. To superset, instead of having rest periods between two sets of an exercise, you select an alternative exercise which will rest the muscles that you’ve just trained while exercising the opposite set of muscles. For example, alternate your exercises for the chest and upper back, stomach and lower back, front and back of upper arm, front and back of thigh, and so on.
# Exercise during your commute. With traffic congestion always on the increase, combining exercise with your daily commute can not only save you time for a separate exercise session later, but can also save you commuting time. For example, you could try walking or cycling as part of your commute to get a healthy start to the day — or you could even try jogging to work if there are showering and changing facilities available at your workplace.
# Miss the TV shows for exercise. Many people claim to have no time for a workout, yet they are regular viewers of all the big shows.
“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” – Ryan Blair
There will always be a reason not to train. From cold weather to a taxing day at the office, it’s never hard to find an excuse to skip your next session. This is a bad habit to get into, and will soon result in your progress all but grinding to a halt. If you want to achieve something you need to stick to it no matter what – besides, a bit of snow will keep you cool!
“Strive for progress, not perfection.” – Anonymous
Nobody is perfect, and if you set fitness targets for yourself that are unrealistic you’re going to feel like giving up before you’ve even begun. Working towards your goals in small and easily manageable steps will keep you motivated throughout the process, and have you where you want to be in no time.
“You want me to do something… tell me I can’t do it.” – Maya Angelou
We’ve all got that friend or family member who takes every opportunity to put us down, whether they mean to or not. “You? Run a marathon? Ha!” Rather than getting down in the dumps about this, use it to your advantage – who are they to tell you what you can and can’t do?
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
You’ll never know if you can run that marathon or climb that mountain if you don’t give it a shot. We all feel self-doubt at times, but sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and take the plunge. Who knows, you might be great at it! If you don’t try, you’ll never find out.
“Only the weak attempts to accomplish what he knows he can already achieve.” – Stella Juarez
Setting goals for yourself is all well and good, but if they’re too easy they aren’t going to do much good for your motivation. If you’ve already run a half marathon and you set your next target as a 5k fun run, you’re not likely to feel much satisfaction or a sense of achievement as you cross the finish line.
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nobody ever got anywhere in life by doing half a job. To succeed in your training you’re going to have to put as much effort in as possible, so enthusiasm for what you’re doing is a must. If you find yourself becoming tired of the same old training methods, then the best thing you can do is try a new workout to freshen things up again.
“What does not destroy me, makes me stronger” – Friedrick Nietzsche
You are going to get injured. You are going to face setbacks. Once you accept this, you’ll soon find that you learn from these negative experiences and use them to improve yourself. Whether it’s a change in training technique brought about by an injury, or a tweak in your race strategy after a disappointing finish, setbacks can almost always be seen in a positive way over time.
“There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.” – Ralph Marston
You can point the finger all you like – maybe your boss keeps you late at work, or your spouse wants you to do too many chores. However, what your training really boils down to is simple: you. You are the only person who can truly make it happen, and you are the only person who can stop it. Which is it going to be?
“Good luck is the result of hard work and preparation.” – Anonymous
People often say sports stars are ‘lucky’ when they succeed. These people are wrong. If you want to achieve a fitness goal, you’re going to have to work hard at it. Luck might play a minor part, but it’s down to you to make the real difference. Enter a marathon unprepared hoping to ‘get lucky’ across the 26.2 miles, and you’re going to have a very bad day.
“The difference between a goal and a dream is a deadline.” – Steve Smith
If you set yourself some impossible goal to achieve in your lifetime, we can assure you now that you’ll never get round to it. Instead, give yourself a deadline – “I will complete a triathlon by the time I’m 30”, “By the end of the year I will have lost two stone”. A time frame allows you to plan your goal and adds that extra motivation you’ll need to complete it.
Part of the equation in terms of what exercise you should do is informed by your lifestyle and its impact on the amount of time available for exercise. That in turn will dictate your choice of activity and the duration and intensity of your workout. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is becoming increasingly popular because of its convenience and health benefits. The workouts can vary in duration from intervals of only 20 seconds up to around 7-8 minutes with recovery periods in between each interval. The idea is that you work at your maximal heart rate for that interval, which means you are aiming to get your heart rate up to between 80-95% of capacity. As well as the general heart, lung and well being benefits, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT also increases aerobic and anaerobic fitness, provides improved cholesterol levels, boosts insulin sensitivity and offers an improvement in levels of abdominal fat.
Studies have also shown that HIIT, which can take the form of circuit training, sprints, cycle sprints and weights, offers a superior sustained calorie burn due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) which helps burns fat. This makes it even more attractive compared to more conventional forms of exercise and add to that the convenience factor of getting the required health benefits from something that only requires half of the time and you can see why HIIT is one of the more appealing fitness fads for time-pressured people.
According to exercise physiologist Gary O’Donovan, vigorous exercise is the way forward to getting your body fit and/or trying to lose weight. He suggests that: “Health, fitness and performance are all maximized by working harder — which isn’t to say that you won’t benefit from lighter exercise, just that you will benefit more if you work harder during your fitness sessions.”
Ironically though to get to the stage where you can really benefit from HIIT you need to be fit enough to sustain that work rate and you can only achieve that kind of fitness from regular, longer moderate intensity aerobic workouts!
Being as active as possible for as long as possible really is the best way to sustain a healthy lifestyle and enhance your life expectancy. Any exercise you can get for as long as possible whenever you can is always welcome. Only you can know what is realistic in terms of your own lifestyle, but the closer you get to the recommendations in terms of frequency and intensity of exercise, the chances are, the healthier you will be.
Not pushing yourself enough
Temping though it is sometimes to stroll out of the gym after 20 minutes with barely a bead of sweat on your brow, it really is not the way to earn killer abs. Even the most enthusiastic fitness fanatic has days in the gym/on the road when they’re not really on it. Everyone is allowed a slight aberration from time to time, but for some people, every day is a light workout where they really don’t burn many calories. If you don’t get that heart rate up you simply won’t burn calories/fat or lose weight/tone those problem areas. It’s a simple equation. Hard work brings results. Now that doesn’t mean work out until you faint, but it does mean get a sweat on and get those endorphins going.
Not working out correctly
How many times have you seen someone in the gym leaning casually over the elliptical machine reading a book? You can tell by their posture that their not committed to their workout and the reality is they won’t be burning a huge amount of calories with a workout like that. It’s so important to get your technique right when you’re using gym equipment or cardio exercise. Just as reading a book while going through the stepping motions won’t really help, neither will flogging yourself on the rowing machine until you pull a back muscle because your technique is poor. It is always a great idea to seek advice when you are starting a fitness programme and the most important advice will be technical tips on how to do it properly.
You refuel too much
It’s always extremely important to refuel after any training session. Your body uses energy from its glycogen stores when you work out and if you want your muscles to recover properly, you need to replenish that energy. That said some people take the refuelling element too far. It can be awfully easy to eat more calories than you’ve burned by picking food full of empty calories. This term applies to food that is full of calories but offers little nutritional value. For example a cheeseburger is fine as an occasional treat, but it really shouldn’t be your meal of choice after a gym session. It can also become a post workout habit to snack on energy bars and sports drinks which are full of sugar. Rehydrate with water instead and snack on healthy options like fruit and nuts. A healthy balanced diet will help you hit your fitness goals and improve the quality of your workouts.
Doing too much exercise too soon
Those of you with a plan are probably feeling a little smug right now and rightly so. But how many of you I wonder, have thrown yourself head first at that plan like the proverbial bull in a china shop? Come on now. Be honest. It’s an easy mistake to make, especially if you start the year armed with a New Year’s resolution and a heap of brand new workout gear. The trouble is too much exercise too soon could lead to injury, boredom, lack of motivation and a fitness regime that fizzles out a month after it starts. Your body needs time to rest and recover between workouts and remember that healing, muscle repair and fitness development and adaptation will happen when you let your body rest. The best plan is always to train smart rather than slogging it and that includes everything from getting your warm up right, with the appropriate stretches to cooling down properly.
No fitness plan means no hope
Most people love a plan. A lot don’t. Sometimes in life though you have to accept that without a roadmap you will get lost and this is especially true of getting fit. If you have a workout plan, a purpose or specific aim, then you have a template to success. If you follow it, the chances are you will achieve your goal. If you don’t, you won’t and although it sounds nice to just pop into the gym and make it up as you go along, that strategy just doesn’t produce results. A plan will help you track your progress, challenge your workouts and help you develop and progress. Think of it like shopping. If you head out to the shops aimlessly you will probably just browse aimlessly in shops for hours. But if you head out with a list, you will use your time effectively and only get the things on the list, which will leave you plenty of time to head to the gym afterwards!
Not enough variety in your workouts
Don’t get stuck in a fitness rut. It’s something that is easy to fall into, especially if you’ve seen a personal trainer and had your own bespoke workout designed for you. That’s great, but it needs to be assessed and tweaked regularly. If you keep doing the same exercises your body will adapt to it and your progress will plateau. Remember you will also only be developing certain muscle groups while other areas will remain woefully underdeveloped. It’s so important to keep challenging your mind and body if you want to keep achieving results.
Over-emphasis on cardio exercise which ignores weights
Many people shy away from weights when they put together a gym programme because they’re worried about bulking up. They tend to think that running or cycling miles and miles rather than workouts in the gym, will take them where they want to go. That is understandable up to a point, but by ignoring weight training you ignore huge potential health and fitness benefits. It’s important to bear in mind that you are always in charge of how much weight you lift and the impact that has on your body, so if you want to look like a bodybuilder, you can indeed develop that look by lifting heavy weights. However if you want to tone muscle, increase your calorie/fat burn and boost your metabolic system, then low level weight sessions are a fantastic idea.